Business occupancy rates in downtown Lee’s Summit are holding steady with several new businesses on the horizons replacing some who have left in the last three-to-six months.
According to Sarah Shore, associate director of Downtown Lee’s Summit Main Street, the ebb and flow of business retention and recruitment in the area is par for the course.
“I think things are going pretty well,” Shore said. “We have a vacancy rate that is right around eight to nine percent. That’s been pretty steady. It ebbs and flows and always stays around eight to nine percent really over the past two years.”
Shore said there are many new businesses that have opened or will open in the downtown area the first three months of the new year.
“(Many) new businesses are slated to open coming up in the first quarter of 2013,” she said. “One would be CoCo’s Style Lounge and that’s going to be over on S.W. Main Street. I’ve been in contact with the owner and she’s hoping to be open sometime in February. There’s also a place called A New Body Work, I believe that is also on S.W. Main. I believe it’s a massage business. Derek’s Auto has moved back downtown. They used to be on the corner of Third and Market, and then they moved further up on Third Street closer to (U.S. Highway 50). Actually they have relocated downtown where Cooper’s Auto used to be. Cooper’s closed and now Derek’s is over here on Douglas.
“One Stop Decorating Shop (225 S.E. Douglas) is moving downtown. We’re excited about that. They were up on Douglas closer to Saint Luke’s (East Hospital) and they decided to relocate downtown so we’re excited about that. It’s also a space that has been vacant for a while. I don’t have many details at all but a clothing store is actually going to be moving into 6 S.W. Third Street. That’s a location where Alysa Rene’s clothing boutique had previously been, but they consolidated their store over into Park Place (in Kansas).”
One Stop Decorating Shop will take up space owned by Zimmer Real Estate Services. Zimmer also has clients opening businesses on their property at 600 Jefferson.
“We have three new tenants that we’ve moved in there in the last couple of months,” said Michael VanBuskirk, senior vice-president principal and director of investment services for Zimmer. “X-Time took about 4,000 (square) feet over there, Moyer and Moyer Insurance took 2,100 (square) feet, and then Credit Guys took 6,110 square feet.
“We’re obviously excited about it. Activity on the spaces has been very strong. The lease up on the office side is pretty amazing when you think about how much absorption of square feet that is over a very short period of time. We have some other activity that may fill up the Jefferson building. It’s very strong activity which I think reinforces the strengths of downtown Lee’s Summit.”
A few businesses have left Lee’s Summit in the last six months or closed shop all together, Shore said, including Rusty Spur’s Couture, which moved to the Plaza area, The Glass Shack of Hawaii and In the Middle Cupcakes, which served up its last small cake Jan. 25.
“We’re always very sad to see any of our businesses close,” Shore said.
Shore added despite closures and relocations downtown Lee’s Summit is still a tempting market area for potential business owners.
“I think we know there is a lot of interest in downtown Lee’s Summit just from the volume of calls we receive,” she said. “It seems almost on a daily basis we receive a call from someone who is interested in locating a business here and would prefer to be downtown. We look at that as a very good sign.”